Woman soaking in bathtub
Woman soaking in bathtub

Moms constantly prioritize everyone else’s needs above their own. It’s just in their nature. But if moms or others aren’t refilling their own cups, then they’ll run out of energy to give others. Self-care is so important, and it can be so easy and free. Sure, who wouldn’t love a thousand dollar weekend get away to a spa resort, but that’s not always viable. Some self-care and self-love activities are so easy and can be done from the comfort of one’s own bed. Sometimes it feels like there just isn’t enough time in the day to focus on a moment alone, but it’s so important for positive mental health. Check out these free self-care activities that are totally free and affordable for moms on a budget.

The world of self-care can actually seem a little intimidating. Some people just seem to have it so together, and it’s easy to compare life paths. Just know that no one has the same journey to self-love or self-care. The first step is accepting one’s self and taking a break. Life can be overwhelming. With kids, spouses, jobs, and social lives, where are we supposed to fit in time to relax? All those organized moms with a calendar full of summer activities for the kiddos and date nights scheduled should set up some alone time that won’t get rescheduled. For the more spur-of-the-moment types, just wait until the kids finally have a playdate or someone to watch them, and there’s two hours on the clock. Put in that tiny bit of effort for self-betterment and it will pay off. Cost is important too, so for everybody on a budget, don’t worry. Here are 20 ways to relax and practice self-care for no cost at all.

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Meditate

Meditation is harder than it seems. Sure, people are just breathing deeply with their eyes closed in a seated position, but there’s much more to it than that. The goal is to be as in the moment as possible with almost no distractions, so the person can completely relax. There are a number of free apps such as Calm, Aura, and Headspace help introduce mindfulness in an easy-to-follow way.

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Make a List

Sometimes there’s way too much going on inside of our heads so life would be impossible if we didn’t write it all down. Next time that overwhelming feeling happens, write lists. There’s the obvious to-do list that will help keep tasks in order, but there are also lists of things that have already been accomplished. Also, try writing dream lists of places to travel, books to read, or lifelong goals.

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Sing

Singing can be one of the most satisfying things to do, even if the pitch is a little (or a lot) off. Try singing in the shower or in the car for a more private experience. Or just belt it out around the house. It could make for a fun activity with kids, too, by getting them to sing along. Singing releases anxiety and is a form of creativity that doesn’t require too much skill.

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Take a Nap

Sometimes the only answer to life’s troubles is a catnap. Be careful when giving in to sweet sleep’s embrace, though, because a successful catnap that will leave the napper feeling rested only lasts about 30 minutes. Any longer and that nap turned into full-on REM sleep, which can mess with the rest of the day. The best time of day for a nap is between 2 and 3 p.m., so keep that in mind as well.

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Play With Makeup

Beauty lovers know that there’s nothing more satisfying than applying a flawless face of makeup. Even if there’s nowhere to go and no one to impress, show off those eyeshadow skills just for the joy of it. Don’t be afraid of making mistakes, because it doesn’t matter anyway. Then, next time it is a date night, those well-practiced skills will come in handy.

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Practice Yoga

There’s a reason people who do yoga every day are so zen. It is the best way to get the blood pumping without going overboard. A gentle yoga flow can be just what the doctor ordered after a stressful day. Yoga is also a wonderful way to wake up the body in the morning with some gentle stretches. There’s such a wide variety that it doesn’t get boring. After the 50th Vinyasa flow, try out something a little more advanced such as acroyoga with a partner, which combines acrobatics with yoga.

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Call a Loved One

Call up a friend or a family member just to vent or listen, but choose wisely. Call someone who’s life is inspiring or someone who is the best listener. When there isn’t a ton of time but having someone to talk to will lift those spirits, then hopping on the phone for 30 minutes (or an hour if time allows) can be the best remedy.

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Binge-Watch or Have a Movie Night

Self-care doesn’t have to be all about self-betterment. Sometimes vegging out and losing oneself to a binge-worthy TV show is the greatest way to relax. Do it right on the weekend with comfy clothes, snacks, and a cozy throw blanket with a partner. Or, if watching The Bachelor on Monday nights solo with a glass of wine is what’s called for, then go for it.

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Think of 10 Things To Love About Yourself

When feeling down, be your own hype man! Think of all of the best things that make you proud. Self-care means practicing self-love, and writing down those reminders can be so empowering. Confidence is key, and focusing on achievements and positive qualities is the fastest way to get there.

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Have a Cleaning Party

A clean house symbolizes a clean mind, and it doesn’t always have to feel like a chore. There are few feelings more satisfying than a freshly vacuumed, dusted, and Clorox-ed home. Play some loud music and get to scrubbing. Get lost in the organizing and feel completely renewed at the end of it.

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Bake or Cook for Fun

Cooking is a daily chore in every mom’s life, but it doesn’t always have to be all work and no play. Try following a recipe that totally gets you in the moment. Baking is also a fun and mindful task, because it requires following the recipe to a T. Plus, the final result is usually delicious.

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Go on a Hike

Almost every neighborhood or community has a free trail system that is easily accessible. It’s so nice to get out into nature no matter what part of the country one is in. Connecting with the Earth helps keep individuals grounded and centered. Plus, everybody needs Vitamin D from the sun to boost those emotions. Just make sure to put on plenty of sunscreen.

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Get Artistic in a Coloring Book

Adult coloring books are a fun way to let off some steam. If you don’t want to buy one, grab one of the kiddos’ versions with princesses or dinosaurs. It’s honestly just as fun. If there aren’t any coloring books, use some printer paper and markers as a free way to get creative or find a printable coloring page. Again, those artistic talents don’t need to be Picasso-level to get the result of feeling stress-free and mindful.

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Read

Everybody took reading for granted growing up, and now all we want is to have more time to do it. Schedule some time to read a chapter each night to help settle down before going to sleep. Reading a book is so much better for the mind than effortlessly scrolling through social media. It’s also such a relaxing activity, and a gripping book can help a reader lose track of time or escape into another world.

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Make an At-Home Face Mask

Look up any at-home face mask recipes online and get to relaxing. Making a mask at home is way more satisfying and usually has more natural ingredients than one bought at a store. They are also way less expensive, and most materials can be found in the pantry. Use ingredients such as avocados, honey, oatmeal, charcoal, and even chocolate to have an at-home luxurious experience.

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Write Someone a Letter

Everybody loves getting a personalized hand-written note, and being the person who takes the time to write one earns major brownie points. Get postcards after a vacation and spell out the trip to the recipient. Or assign one friend to be a pen pal to receive as many letters as have been given. There are some really beautiful stationary sets that are relatively inexpensive.

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Make a Gratitude Journal

Having gratitude for everything good in life is another way to focus on the positives and have an overall happier outlook. Keep a gratitude journal filled with the big and small things that bring joy. From having clean clothes, food to eat, and a warm home, to love from family members and healthy, happy kids, there is so much in life to be grateful for.

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Volunteer at an Animal Shelter

Helping others is the best way to help oneself, and when the "others" are animals, it’s even better. Animal lovers known how much happiness dogs and cats bring to life, and the best way to be near them is at an animal shelter. Seeing the look of love and joy on a dog’s face about to go on a walk, well, there’s not much better than that. It’s also perfect for people who don’t have time to commit to a lifelong pet but want to be around one for a short while.

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Take a Bike Ride

Another way to get outside is by dusting off the bike in the garage and taking it for a spin. Riding around the block helps get some exercise and some Vitamin D. Biking solo helps clear the mind and focus those rampant thoughts. Or take the kids out and make it a fun family outing.

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Have a Technology-Free Day

Nothing brings more stress than the thought of work emails, missed calls, unanswered texts, and notifications on social media. As soon as time allows, schedule a technology-free day. Dedicate a Saturday out of every month to solitude and the real world. Avoiding technology even for a little bit will help refresh the mind and reset those priorities.